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Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity


ASL & Interpreting

First Advisor

Erica Alley

Second Advisor

Leandra Williams

Third Advisor

Glenn Anderson




According to the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf’s (RID) 2016 annual report, only 4.89% (487) of its members (8,649) self-identify as African American/Black (RID, 2017). There is an overwhelming concern within the Black Deaf community, as well as, the African American/Black (AA/B) interpreter community regarding the disparities in social capital and underrepresentation of AA/B sign language interpreters in the interpreting profession. “The demographics of the current pool of sign language interpreters does not reflect the diversity of the d/Deaf population, and few white interpreters share the same cultural or linguistic background of the individuals they serve. Finding qualified hearing and Deaf interpreters from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds that are fluent in the diverse native languages of the individuals they serve is difficult, and demand far outweighs supply” (Cokely, Schafer, 2016). In a survey conducted by Aramburo (1993), 87 percent of the Black Deaf community stated tha they identify as Black first and Deaf second because people see their color before they know they are Deaf. These comments have been brought up during local, state, and national conferences for well over two decades. This research will present the shared journeys of AA/B sign language interpreters; and the impact of disparities of social capital.

2020_MAISCE_McMillanV_Paper.pdf (1160 kB)
Action research project paper